Long-term Care or LTC Care

What is Long-Term Care (LTC)?

Long-term Care includes a wide range of medical and support services for people with a degenerative condition. Some of these conditions include Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, if you or someone you know had a stroke or even for prolonged illnesses such as cancer.

Long-term Care is for mostly older individuals. Most who need long-term care are in their later years, most typically their 80's. However, younger people may also need long-term care as a result of accidents such as a fall from a roof, motorcycle accident (especially a higher risk in men) or even illnesses like Multiple sclerosis or more commonly referred to as MS.

Long-term Care is not necessarily medical care but rather care giver or "customdial care". Custodial Care involves providing individual assistance with activities of day to day living or the supervision of someone who is cognitively impaired. 

To better understand Long-Term Care, think of activities that you do daily and don't require assistance to perform these activities. Such as getting out of bed, walking to the bathroom, taking a shower, getting yourself dressed and something as even as simple as eating your breakfast. When you're healthy its easy to take these things for granted. These are considered Activities of Daily Living or ADL's. 

When you or your loved one is striken with a degenerative condition that we have mentioned above, performing these ADL's can be almost impossible without assistance from another person. As we age, performing these simple daily functions becomes more and more difficult especially for someone in their 80's or 90's.

For those who must think about LTC or the care required for ADL's, you may be comparing this care to the same type of care a parent provides their newborn or baby. This type of care is chronic (full-time) and becomes very expensive. Long-term Care can be provided for in many ways and settings, such as nursing homes, your own home, or even assisted living facilities or adult day care services. 

The Most Important Things To Know About Long-Term Care

If you are thinking about long-term care insurance, here are the most important things to know:

  • You must health-qualify for long-term care insurance. Not everyone can. Because health changes, especially as you grow older, it's smart to look into this well before you reach retirement age (your 50s are generally the best time to start).
  • Long-term care insurance can be far more affordable than most people think. Cost is an issue; so you need to know there are many ways to make this protection affordable.
  • Rates (Premiums) can vary significantly from one insurer to another. Each insurer has pricing "sweet spots" based on your age when applying. Available discounts and options can vary too. It's a reason to work with someone with access to policies from multiple insurers.
  • Health qualifications can also vary from one insurer to another. If you're in great health, don't use tobacco products, take no medications -- then every insurer will accept you. Each insurer sets their own health-qualifications and they change from time to time. Be prepared to share information with an insurance professional. You want them matching you with the company offering the best protection for the best price.
  • You're only going to buy long-term care insurance once. Deciding to buy long-term care insurance is a financial and emotional decision. But, it's different than buying car or home insurance, which people switch from time to time. It's almost never economically advantageous to switch (primarily because costs are based on your age at application). Many people sell long-term care insurance. Make sure you work with someone who really knows this business. It will save you money and yield benefits for many years to come.
  • What Are The Biggest Mistakes To Avoid in Long-Term Care Insurance?

    Isn't this our biggest fear when making a purchasing decision; making a mistake we'll regret. That's why we read Consumer Reports and research online. So, when it comes to long-term care insurance, what are the biggest mistakes to avoid?

  • Waiting too long to start planning. You don't have to buy insurance protection today; but at least find out what a policy will cost. If you take prescription medications or have health conditions, find out if you can health qualify. Ask what health changes might make you ineligible to health qualify.
  • Believing it won't happen to you. Denial is the best reason not to plan. And, honestly, we hope you live a long life … never have an accident or illness. Yes, we hope you never need long-term care. We also hope you never have a car accident. But hope is not a strategy. Planning for the future is.
  • Counting on government programs. If you are 50 or 55, are you really ready to count on Medicare and Medicaid being able to pay for the care you want in 15 or 20 years. Everyone wants someone else to pay the bill. If you prefer having choice, options and independence, then you'd better have a plan in place … just in case.
  • Not working with a long-term care insurance professional. As you'll find us saying many times, costs vary between insurers, discounts vary between insurers and acceptable health conditions vary. You want to work with an experienced and knowledgeable professional who stays current and can get you the best coverage for the best price. Are we biased in favor of our Association members? You bet!
  • I'm Never Going To A Nursing Home; Why Do I Need to Think About Long-term Care?

    Say the words long-term care insurance … and chances are you think nursing home. Today, that could not be farther from reality. Today, long-term care insurance really means home care coverage.

    It is true that the earliest policies issued in the 1980s generally paid for nursing home care.
    But, today, one of the most significant benefits of long-term care insurance is the ability to receive care in your own home. And, almost half of all long-term care insurance benefits pay for home care. Here are some current facts:

    There are some 7.6 million individuals currently receiving care at home. And, 43 percent of all individual long-term care insurance policy benefits went for home care.

    Another 1.0 million Americans live in assisted living communities. And, 32.9 percent of all individual long-term care insurance policy benefits went for assisted living care and costs.
    Some 1.8 million Americans live in nursing homes. Many are there because Medicaid (the federal poverty program) pays for care in nursing homes. Only 24.1 percent of long-term care insurance policy benefits paid for nursing home care.

    What Are My Real Chances of Needing Long-Term Care?

    We've asked the nation's smartest actuaries (those are the mathematicians who price insurance policies by calculating the risk you'll need care) and here's the reply. Your chances of needing long-term care are either going to be zero (0%) or 100 percent.

    We can share with you a ton of great statistics provided by government and independent researchers (and we will). But none of it is really relevant to predicting whether you are going to need long-term care. Your chances are going to be zero … or 100 percent. As Clint Eastwood would say, "are ya feeling lucky?" We'd rather say, "isn't it smarter to do a little planning … just in case."

    But, for those who like statistics, here's one of the best studies we've found.

    Estimated Years Of Needing Long-Term Care After Turning Age 65
    More than 5 years 20%
    2 to 5 years 20%
    1 to 2 years 12%
    1 year or less 17%
    None 31%

    Call for more information and rates for Long Term Care Insurance.